John McCullagh October 22, 2007
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Newry’s first Railway Station was neither Edward Street nor Dublin Bridge, but was located at a red-brick building down the Warrenpoint Road in a place that later became the Abattoir.


It was a few years later – in 1861 – that Dublin Bridge Station replaced it and a further few years before Edward Street Station linked Newry with Belfast and Dublin, and indeed Carlingford/Greenore.

But before the railway age – and after the canal age – when roads were dirt and of poor quality, it was horse-drawn coaches that were the main form of transport. In the early 1800s our North Street became an important staging post for the Dublin/Newry/Banbridge/Belfast traffic. A section of North Street was formerly known as Dirty Lane – probably on account of the effluent that settled there from the old Cattle Market at the bottom of High Street.

Before the coming of synthetic materials, leather was a universal and common commodity, especially in farming and cattle-rearing areas. The cattle hides were cured and made into leather and leather products in places that were sometimes known as Tan Yards or Tan Opens. Bassett’s 1886 Directory, for example, names SEVEN of them between Marcus Square and the start of Chapel Street (Tom McKeown has written here about the latter one!).

Ballybot – the district between Monaghan Street and the Dublin Road – literally means ‘poor town, or district’. It was where the artisans lived when the better-off occupied the opposite slopes! Later, perhaps because of its pool of labour it became the centre for a number of work-intensive enterprises such as flax- and cotton-spinning mills, flour mills, breweries and distilleries. For a long time Ballybot had its own assizes and jail, on the site now occupied by Keogh cars. 

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